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India: Delhi’s law minister and AAP leadership bring disgrace upon themselves

by Dilip, 24 January 2014

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“The Indian high commission in Uganda is involved in sex trafficking, that’s why the Indian government is covering this up". Somnath Bharti

NB: For Delhi's Law Minister to say this, with no rebuttal from the Union Government, is scandalous. To use documentation in the way the AAP leaders have done is to deliberately mislead the public. It is difficult to believe this is the law minister speaking.

Far worse for his party is their conduct over the entire Khirkee affair. Whatever be the facts of the case (and several Ugandan women have filed accusations against him), it was his and his party's moral obligation to ask him to step aside until the matter was cleared up. The leaders have instead resorted to technicality - they see no evidence to justify his removal, and will wait for the judicial inquiry. Do they not have a conscience? Can't they see that his behaviour has caused anguish as well as a political crisis, and even if the truth is completely on their side (which is questionable), the right thing to do would be to leave the post? 

What about Mr Bharti himself? Is his post more important to him than his cause? Does he even have a cause? If he did, he could explain to his voters that he and his party would continue to fight for police accountability, but that his departure form the ministerial post was the right thing to do. Is ministership more important than the stature of his party?

A friend of mine made a serious observation: The AAP cannot distinguish between representation and leadership. Perhaps they cannot remove him, not only because he is incapable of stilling his arrogance & his ego; but more ominously because he has gained popularity in Khirki. That's why our 'mainstream' parties too, cannot get rid of men who have presided over ghastly acts. They were and are popular. If popularity is all that matters, we would not look up to Mahatma Gandhi (who's death anniversary is coming up on January 30) for standing up before murderous crowds in Calcutta in August 1947 and resisting violence & hatred with truth and non-violence.

Our friends in the AAP seem to have forgotten Gandhi. Had they adhered to his compass they would have calmed the situation in Khirki and done themselves a favour. They could have involved women's organisations for assistance and participation in a campaign against the alleged illegal activities in Khirki. Is Mr Bharti merely the MLA of Malviya Nagar or the Law Minister of India's capital?

Ordinary people, the 'aam admi' are often filled with prejudices and bias of caste, communal, and racial nature. They are quite capable of doing horrible things. Surely it is the moral obligation of political leaders to speak wisely, to pursue justice, but to do so in a fair-minded way, preserving the dignity of all concerned? Surely they are not required to run behind and re-inforce popular prejudice, but to speak reasonably, to urge restraint?

The AAP's victory in Delhi roused a lot of expectations and aspirations for a newer and cleaner politics. This is a movement more than a party, and numbers of its friends and well-wishers (among whom I count myself) are disappointed at the conduct of its leadership, as well as the seeming absence of conscience in the Law Minister. Popularity for the wrong reasons is poison - Dilip

Letters (from Uganda)minus full story

New Delhi, Jan. 20: Letters flashed by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal today to justify his law minister Somnath Bharti’s vigilantism against Ugandan nationals last week have boomeranged on the Aam Aadmi Party that now stands accused of outright lying. Kejriwal claimed that an official from the Uganda high commission here visited Bharti yesterday and handed over letters supporting his decision to lead a mob that accused four Ugandan and two Nigerian women in south Delhi of drug trafficking and prostitution last Wednesday.

“A woman from the Ugandan mission came to meet Somnath Bharti last evening and told him ‘you did very well, many women from our country are being trafficked’,” Kejriwal said. “She brought a letter.” But the Uganda high commission told The Telegraph that none of its staff was in New Delhi over the past three days, and that no one from the mission spoke to or met anyone from the Aam Aadmi Party. Uganda has registered a formal protest with the ministry of external affairs, accusing the AAP of lying to justify what multiple African missions in New Delhi have officially described to the foreign office as racism. One officer alone returned to the capital today, and she has confirmed that she did not communicate with anyone in the Delhi government, the high commission said, after scrutinising the letter that this correspondent had emailed to the mission for verification.

The foreign office, which is required to keep tabs on the whereabouts of foreign mission staff posted in India, confirmed that no Ugandan mission staff was in New Delhi over the past three days. “I can confirm that there was no Uganda high commission staff here,” a foreign ministry official said. Bharti, when told that Uganda had described as untrue his party’s statement that a high commission official met him yesterday, claimed the African nation was acting under pressure from the Indian government.

“Uganda is a small country, and it is doing this under pressure from the Indian government,” Bharti told The Telegraph, before levelling an allegation against the foreign office. “The Indian high commission in Uganda is involved in sex trafficking, that’s why the Indian government is covering this up.” Asked about the name of the Ugandan official who he claimed had visited him, Bharti said: “Why should I name someone?”

The contents of the letters are unrelated to the allegations Bharti faces — of leading a mob that forcibly detained and beat the Ugandan and Nigerian women in his constituency of Malviya Nagar last week. One of the letters, from the former defence adviser at the Uganda high commission George J. Etyang to a superior in Kampala, is dated June 19, 2013 — seven months ago. It details allegations of sex trafficking in Kampala and New Delhi that victimised a Ugandan woman. The second letter, from the woman, is addressed to the Ugandan high commission, and details how she was forced into sex trafficking in Malviya Nagar. This victim left New Delhi for Kampala on June 19, 2013, the first letter states. But neither relates to the vigilantism on Wednesday. “Those are internal letters, and were written in a completely different context to what the Delhi minister did on Wednesday night,” the Ugandan high commission official said... read more:

MEA calls bluff: ‘Support letter’ CM waved is 7 months old, internal Ugandan note
Ugandan woman testifies in court: 'Somnath Bharti led the people who attacked me'

The AAP’s place in Indian democracy

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